01x17 - A Mid-Winter Night's Dream

ACT ONE

Scene One - Cafe Nervosa
Niles and Frasier are sat at a table together. Niles is ordering his
coffee from Eric the waiter but Frasier just can't seem to get his.

Niles: Double Cappuccino, half-caf, not-fat milk, with just enough
foam to be aesthetically pleasing but not so much that it
leaves a moustache.
Eric: Cinnamon or chocolate on that?
Niles: Oh, they make this so complicated. Um, cinnamon.
Eric: [to Frasier:] And you?
Frasier: Well let me see, I think I'll have the...

Daphne enters the cafe and goes to the counter.

Niles: Oh look, it's Daphne. Daphne!
Frasier: Daphne.
Daphne: Oh, hello, thought I might run into you here. Oh please,
sit, sit. I just stopped in for a bag of beans, we're
running low at home.
Frasier: Oh, well good. [to Eric:] You know, I'd like...
Eric: [intervening:] I'd be happy to help.
Daphne: Two pounds of...
Eric: [with Daphne:] The Kenya Blend.
Daphne: Ho-ho, you remembered.
Eric: Hard to forget. [Niles looks jealous.]
Frasier: Excuse me, you haven't taken my order yet.
Eric: [ignoring Frasier:] Most people find that blend too intense.
Daphne: Not me, I like something that holds its body on my tongue.

Niles, seduced by the language, spills cream all over the table.

Frasier: Excuse me, we seem to have spilled something here. If you
could... [Eric just throws down a dishcloth.]
Eric: I don't suppose you would be into something robust, if it
didn't come on too strong.
Daphne: If it was a little bit sweet I might take a liking to it.
Eric: Would you like to step over to the counter and try my
special blend?
Daphne: I'd love to.

They go to the counter.

Frasier: [shouting:] Oh, nothing for me, thanks!
Niles: Frasier, that man is hitting on our Daphne! I don't know
how she stands it.
Frasier: Niles... look, apropos of nothing, how are things between you
and Maris?
Niles: Are you implying that my concern for Daphne's welfare is
anything less than pure?
Frasier: I don't know, you tell me.
Niles: Frasier, that is your great shortcoming. You're always
distrustful, you're always suspicious. Sometimes you just
have to have faith that people are all right- [spies on them]
what's he doing now!?
Frasier: I believe he's bagging her beans.
Niles: [interpreting this his own way] Oh!

Daphne comes over, excited.

Daphne: Oh, I'm so excited! Eric over there is taking me to a club to
hear his band tonight. Oh, I know it's not my regular night
off but I'll switch it with Saturday, if that's OK with you.
[Niles shakes his head "no" at Frasier, who ignores him] Oh,
isn't he lovely? I already have a nickname for him, "Eric The
Red." It favours him, doesn't it? Don't you think he looks
like a Viking?
Frasier: Well...
Daphne: Well, ta-ta! [turns to leave, but stops] Oh, look at me,
I forgot my beans. Earth to Daphne!

She runs out. Niles is beside himself.

Niles: How could she like him? The man has "community college"
written all over him.
Frasier: Niles, you know, this infatuation with Daphne is really
getting out of hand. I didn't really mind when it was just a
flirtation, but I can't help wonder that this is symptomatic
of something wrong between you and Maris. [Niles is silent]
Well, is it?
Niles: Oh... Frasier, I can't lie to you. The truth is, Maris and I
are in a bit of a rut. We seem to have lapsed into this grey,
numbing blandness.
Frasier: Well, that's perfectly normal in a relationship of some years.
Maybe you should try spicing things up a bit.
Niles: You mean... boudoir-wise?
Frasier: Well, for starters, yeah.
Niles: Like how?
Frasier: Well, the two of you could... [Niles leans forward
expectantly] Well, you could... well it's you and
Maris, so you could... I'm stumped.

FADE OUT

Scene Two - KACL
The next day, Frasier enters Roz's booth before his next radio show.
Roz is stacking carts. She's in a bit of a bad mood.

Frasier: Oh, hi Roz, how are you?
Roz: Do you really want to know how I am, or are you just making
conversation? Because if you really want to know how I am,
I'll tell you.
Frasier: Well, I was just making conversation. But actually, Roz,
there's some advice I need.
Roz: About what?
Frasier: A subject in which you're quite well-versed, s*x.
Roz: [losing all her troubles:] How can I help you?
Frasier: What do you do when... when the romance goes out of a
relationship?
Roz: I get dressed and go home.
Frasier: All right, let's just assume for a moment that you are capable
of a long-term relationship; what would you do to keep things
cooking?
Roz: Well, once I had a boyfriend take me out to a bar, and we
pretended we were strangers picking each other up. Actually
that was kinda hot. [chuckles at the memory]
Frasier: So you used, like, fantasy/role-playing?
Roz: Yeah. In fact, we had so much fun we tried it again. Only
the next time he got so into it he went home with another
woman.
Frasier: I'm sorry.
Roz: Oh hell, she was gorgeous. One more drink, and I'd have
gone home with her. My point is that women need to see the
men they make love to as exciting, romantic figures. So I
say, if you want to keep this woman interested, try creating
a fantasy for an evening. Personally, I think you'd make a
very sexy gladiator.
Frasier: Roz, this is not for me, it's for my brother Niles.
Roz: Oh! Well in that case, make it a gladiola.

FADE TO:

AHOY MATEY!

Scene Three - Frasier's Apartment.
It's late at night and everyone is fast asleep in the Crane household.
But someone is insistently ringing the doorbell. Frasier rushes out
of his bedroom, donning a dressing gown. He turns on the lights and
looks through the peephole.

Frasier: Niles!

He opens the door to Niles, who is dressed in a long raincoat.

Frasier: Niles!
Niles: I'm sorry, Frasier, but something horrible has happened.
Maris kicked me out.
Frasier: Dear God, why? What for?

For answer, Niles takes his raincoat off, revealing pirate attire:
white puffy shirt, knee-high boots, and bright orange pantaloons
belted with a golden swash (plastic dagger included).

Frasier: Oh, my.
Martin: [entering:] What's going on out there? Niles?
Niles: Hello, dad.

Martin stares at him for a long beat.

Martin: Never mind, I don't want to know.
Niles: No dad, wait, there's a perfectly reasonably explanation
for the way I'm dressed.
Frasier: Alright, just keep in mind that I reserve the right to say
"stop" at any time.
Niles: Well, my plan was to leave a treasure map downstairs for Maris
with clues that would lead her to my whereabouts. Then I'd
hide in the linen closet and wait for her to find me.
Martin: Dressed like that?
Niles: Actually no, at the time I was wearing only my eye-patch.
Although, technically is it still an eye-patch if you're
wearing it on your-?
Frasier: Stop!
Niles: There I was lying in wait, with my little plastic knife
clenched between my teeth, when the closet door was flung
open and I found myself face to face with the upstairs maid.
She began screaming what I gather were some very unflattering
things in idiomatic Guatemalan, when Maris stumbled upon the
scene and completely misconstrued it. The next thing I knew
she ordered me out of the house! I barely had time to grab my
pantaloons and buckle my swash.

Martin bursts out laughing.

Niles: Dad? Dad, it's not funny.
Martin: Where'd you come up with such a stupid idea?
Niles: Frasier!
Frasier: All I suggested was some sexual role-playing, you're the one
that came up with "Pirates of the Caribbean"!
Niles: [sinks into a chair] Oh, I've really bungled it this time,
haven't I?
Martin: Oh come on, these things happen. Look, why don't you just
stay here tonight with us and then tomorrow you and Maris
can sort things out.
Niles: What if we don't? What'll I do then?
Frasier: Well, I suppose they could always use another busboy at the
"Jolly Roger"!

Laughing, Frasier goes to the hall.

Niles: I'll never be able to face the maid again.
Martin: I don't think it's your face she'll remember.

He laughs again. Niles glares at him.

Martin: Oh come on, Niles, everybody has an embarrassing story to
tell. Did I ever tell you about the time I got locked
outside in the backyard in my underwear?
Niles: Only every Thanksgiving.
Martin: Well, don't worry, I won't be telling that story this year!

He laughs a third time, causing Niles to throw his hands up and pace
the room in exasperation.

Frasier: [entering with pillow and blanket:] Here we are, Canadian
goose down pillow, Egyptian cotton sheets and a nice Vicuna
throw in case you get a little chilly during the night.
Niles: How perfect!
Martin: I still say a couple of years in the service would have done
you two boys a world of good. Goodnight. [he leaves]
Niles: Goodnight. You know, Frasier, Maris and I have had our
difficulties before, but never anything this serious. I
really feel terrible having her mad at me. It's times like
this I wish I knew how to cry.
Frasier: Well, don't be embarrassed on my account, Niles.
Niles: No, no, it's not that, I'm just not someone who cries, it's
not in my nature. When Maris's Uncle Lyle died, I had to
shut my hand in the car door just to make a decent showing
at the funeral.
Frasier: You're a complex little pirate, aren't you? Well, goodnight
Niles.
Niles: Goodnight.

Frasier turns the lights out and leaves. Niles lies on the couch but
yelps suddenly. Removing a plastic hook from his belt, he gets comfy
again.

Daphne and Eric come in from their date. Niles hides under the
covers. They don't notice him.

Daphne: Well, thank you again, Eric. I had a wonderful time.
Eric: Me too.

Niles peeks over the couch and sees Daphne and Eric kiss.

Daphne: Well, Goodnight.
Eric: Goodnight.

Niles hides again. Daphne closes the door, leans against it, and
sighs. She goes to her room. It isn't long before Niles is in
floods of tears.

FADE TO:

Scene Four - Frasier's Apartment.
The following morning, Eric is the only thing Daphne's thinking
about as she's serving coffee to Frasier and Martin.

Daphne: I know we've only had a few dates, but I'm already
exhibiting the three signs of a woman in love: I can't stop
thinking about him, I can't eat, and I bought myself all-new
underwear! [exits to kitchen, giggling]
Martin: We gotta get her a girlfriend to talk to!

Frasier nods. Niles enters in a dressing gown.

Niles: I just got off the phone with Maris. She's in Arizona for
the weekend.
Frasier: Why?
Niles: Well, she said she was so shattered by the experience she
had to fly to her favorite spa to contemplate the future of
our marriage from a mud bath.
Daphne: Well, it'll probably be good for Mrs. Crane. Eric thinks
the earth is very grounding.
Niles: Eric, Eric, Eric! Must everything always be about Eric?!
Frasier: Niles. May I suggest that when Maris returns, you both
invest some time in some intensive couples' therapy.
There's a Reichian group...
Martin: Oh, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Look, all Maris needs to
know is that you love her. Buy her some flowers, fix her a
nice romantic dinner when she gets back, that's enough to
make any woman forgive you.
Niles: You really think that will work?
Martin: If it didn't, you wouldn't be here!
Niles: Well, I'd be willing to try, but it's impossible. Our cook
walked out in sympathy with Maris.
Daphne: Well, I could help you prepare something. I have a late
date with Eric... [Niles turns round angrily:] -a.
An elderly Aunt Erica, but I could come over early and have
everything ready by the time Mrs. Crane arrives.
Niles: Well, thank you, Daphne.
Daphne: Now, what do you think Mrs. Crane would like for dinner?
Niles: Oh, you have free reign. Just bear in mind she can't have
shellfish... poultry, red meat, saturated fats, nitrates,
wheat, starch, sulfites, MSG or dairy. Did I say nuts?
Frasier: Oh, I think that's implied!

End of Act One (Time: 10:30)

Act Two

IT WAS A DARK
AND STORMY NIGHT

[Black screen, then:]

NO, REALLY

Scene One - Maris's Mansion - Night
The living room of Maris's gothic mansion. There is a grand piano,
a fireplace, and a stairway to the upper floor. A small table for
two is set in one corner, with an open bottle of wine. Outside the
rain is pouring, with lighting and thunder.

Niles, wearing a red smoking jacket, ushers in Daphne, wet and
shivering.

Niles: Come in Daphne, and warm yourself by the fire. How did you
get so wet?
Daphne: One of your trees blew down in your driveway. I had to walk
the last hundred yards. [Niles takes her coat.] I must say,
you have a beautiful home.
Niles: Oh, well thank you. Actually, it was in Maris's family for
four generations. When I was an mere intern I used to drive
through these hills, never dreaming that one day I'd live in
one of these great mansions. Then one afternoon, there was
Maris, looking so helpless, banging on the gates with her
little fists and a tire iron.
Daphne: [now by the fire:] They'd locked her in?
Niles: No, no, that was much later. No, this time she was returning
from the antique mart with a rare bell jar once owned by
Sylvia Plath, when the gates failed to open. So naturally
I stopped to offer my assistance, and as our hands touched
there was a sudden spark of electricity, then as if by magic
the gates parted before us, and we took it as a sign.
Daphne: You knew you were meant to be together.
Niles: Yes. We were married just three short years later.

Daphne sits on the couch and notices an antique musical clock.

Daphne: Look at this, it's beautiful!
Niles: It's a Glockenspiel. We bought it on our honeymoon in Z├╝rich.
[sits next to her] I brought it down from the attic to remind
Maris of better times. It used to play beautiful music, and
now it doesn't. How's that for irony? [rises] Well, let's
get you into some dry clothes, so you can get started on
dinner, and we can get you home in time for your date!

He goes to the staircase. Daphne begins to cry.

Niles: Daphne? [comes back] What is it?
Daphne: Nothing.
Niles: No, no, it's definitely something. I'm a psychiatrist, I can
read the signs.
Daphne: Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't want to spoil your reunion with Mrs.
Crane, but... Eric broke up with me.
Niles: [sits down to comfort her] He did?
Daphne: Yes. He said he couldn't commit to me and his music. He had
to stay focused. I knew it was an excuse - I've heard his
music! He must have another girl.

She breaks down sobbing and buries her head in his chest. He puts
his arm around her.

Niles: Well, he's a fool, Daphne, and if he can't appreciate you
then you're better off without him.
Daphne: Right now, I'm not so sure, but thank you, Dr. Crane.

She's never been this close to him before. He can't help reaching
out to stroke her hair. The phone at his elbow rings, and he puts a
finger to his lips to silence it, but then thinks again and picks up.

Niles: [answering:] Niles Crane. Oh, Maris!

He jumps up, causing Daphne to tip over and bump her head.

Niles: Where are you? What do you mean you can't come home? Well,
it's not that bad a storm!

Thunder and lightning strike at once to contradict him. In front of
him, Daphne bends over before the fire and brushes out her hair.

Niles: [overcome] Oh Maris, I really think you should come home.
No, no, well of course I don't want you traveling if it's not
safe. Yes, yes, I understand. I'll see you tomorrow. [puts
phone down] Well, it seems like it's just the two of us.
Daphne: You mean Mrs. Crane won't be coming?

Lightning strikes again. The lights go out.

Daphne: Oh my, there goes the electricity. What do we do now?

Niles puts a finger to his lips very seriously, as if he's thinking
about his lifelong dream.

FADE TO:

Scene Two - Frasier's Apartment.
Later, Martin is on the phone to Daphne. Frasier is reading on the sofa.

Martin: No, no, the storm's really bad. You shouldn't be driving in
it anyway. No, you just spend the night there. Right,
goodnight, Daphne. [puts phone down]
Frasier: You told her to spend the night?
Martin: Yeah, what's the problem?
Frasier: Well, you know how Niles feels about her.
Martin: Oh, relax. It's just one of Niles's little crushes.
Frasier: Oh, I suppose you're right. Niles is harmless enough.
Besides, he'd never try anything with Maris in the house.
Martin: Oh, Maris never made it back. She's stuck in Arizona.
Frasier: I've gotta get Daphne out of there!

He jumps to his feet and grabs his coat.

Martin: Why?!
Frasier: Why? My God, it's a recipe for disaster! You've got a
vulnerable woman and an unstable man in a gothic mansion on
a rainy night! The only thing missing is someone shouting
"Heathcliff!" across the moors!
Martin: [grabs his coat] Wait for me!
Frasier: Oh, Dad, Dad, you're not coming!
Martin: Yes, I am!
Frasier: No, you're not!
Martin: I am!

Martin and Frasier leave the apartment, still arguing.


FADE TO:

Scene Three - Maris's Mansion.
Meanwhile, the gothic atmosphere continues as Niles plays heavily on
the piano. As if to complete it, Daphne comes downstairs wearing a
frilly white silk peignoir with matching capelet, carrying a lit
candelabra.

Daphne: Oh, Dr. Crane, you play beautifully!
Niles: Thank you.

He turns to look at her and goes completely off key. Then he
recovers and plays a "de-de" finale to cover it up.

Daphne: I found this in the upstairs guest room, I hope it's alright.
Niles: I-I thought you were going to put on some of Maris's clothes.
You know, something bulky from her wool collection.
Daphne: Well yeah, I was, but she's quite a bit smaller than me.
[lifts the capelet, showing her bare shoulder] This is all
I could find that fit. Should I go look for something else?
Niles: No - yes - no... [sits down on the piano keys, then stands
back up] oh, you know er... No, the important thing is that
it's big enough, [strokes his hands down her arms] and warm
enough, [strokes it again] and sssssilky enough, [strokes it
a third time] and... [starts to stroke it again and stops]
I have to make a phone call.

He runs up the stairs. As Daphne bends over the rail to watch him
go, he makes sure to stop and lean over to steal a glance at her
backside.

CUT TO:

Scene Four - Frasier's Apartment.
At Frasier's apartment, the phone is ringing, and the machine answers.

Frasier: [on machine:] Hello, this is Dr. Frasier Crane. I'm
listening. [beep]
Niles: [on machine:] Frasier? Frasier! I'm having a little crisis
here. Actually a large crisis. It's no time to screen calls...
Damn! [hangs up]

As he speaks, Eddie perches on a chair, staring at the machine.

CUT TO:

Scene Five - Frasier's BMW.
Meanwhile, Frasier and Martin are driving to the mansion of the damned.

Martin: This is stupid.
Frasier: It is not.
Martin: Look, nothing's going to happen between them anyway.
Frasier: What if it does? He's my brother and he loves his wife!
Now, now, I know, I know their marriage is not exactly
everyone's cup of tea. But on some twisted, bizarre level
it seems to work for them. If Niles ever did anything to
hurt to his marriage, he's the one who'd suffer. He's my
brother and I won't let him suffer!
Martin: Hey, slow down! You're going to miss the turn onto
Roosevelt.
Frasier: Dad, I let you come along strictly on the agreement that you
would not give directions.
Martin: I'm not giving directions, I'm just telling you which way's
faster.
Frasier: Roosevelt'll add ten minutes.
Martin: In sunshine. In rain it's faster!
Frasier: Oh what, spatial relationships change when it rains?!
Martin: No, you've just got better traction on Roosevelt. Of course,
you wouldn't have to worry about that if you'd gotten all-
weather tires like I told you to, but no, you had to have
the fancy German thing...

Martin and Frasier carry on arguing.

CUT TO:

Scene Six - Maris's Mansion.
Lighning strikes, and things are heating up. Daphne is sitting on
the couch, staring at the fire. Niles brings in some firewood.

Niles: We'd better make this last, this is all that's left of the
wood. [Daphne begins to cry.] Oh no, don't worry, if
this runs out there's an antique sideboard in the drawing
room that I think is reproduction. [she looks at him] Oh.
It's Eric, isn't it?

She nods, then stands and walks closer to the fire.

Daphne: I don't know why I'm being so silly. We weren't together
long enough for anything to really happen.
Niles: [comes up behind her] Sometimes the strongest feelings come
from the promise of what might happen. Just the anticipation
is enough to make all the little hairs on your neck stand on
end.

He smooths down the hackles on the back of his neck. Suddenly she
turns to face him.

Daphne: Dr. Crane...
Niles: [passionately:] Yes, Daphne?
Daphne: We're losing the fire.
Niles: No we're not, it's burning with the heat of a thousand suns!
Daphne: [turning to the fire:] But it's down to its last embers!
Niles: [calming down:] Well then... I'll put some wood on it!

CUT TO:

Scene Seven - Frasier's BMW.
The car has stalled outside of Maris's mansion.

Martin: You flooded it. You had to keep pumping gas and now you
flooded it.
Frasier: Dad, you cannot flood a fuel-injected engine. Oh, this so
maddening. We're so close to the house, I can see the
gargoyles!
Martin: If we'd have taken Roosevelt...
Frasier: We'd be stuck on Roosevelt!
Martin: You never can admit it when you made a mistake, could you?
Frasier: [unbuckles seatbelt] Oh that is it, just call the auto club,
I'm gonna make a dash for it.

He gets out of the car and runs.

Martin: [shouting:] You'll make better time if you take the shortcut
by the side of the fountain! [off Frasier's response:] Well,
same to you!

CUT TO:

Scene Eight - Maris's Mansion.
Daphne and Niles are now lying down in front of the fire. Daphne is
on her back, Niles on his side, head propped on one elbow, looking
down at her.

Daphne: I suppose I just fall in love too fast. The minute I feel
that spark, I just give my heart away.
Niles: Daphne, you must stop being so hard on yourself. What you
see as a fault is also your greatest gift - to be so open,
warm and loving.
Daphne: You're so kind, Dr. Crane. I'm glad we ended up like this
tonight.
Niles: So am I.
Daphne: It's just so nice to be with a man you feel so comfortable
with. I feel very close to you.
Niles: I feel very close to you too, Daphne. You know it's easy
being someone you feel close to, when you feel close to
someone... who's so close.

Daphne rests her head back and closes her eyes. If Niles moves now,
she could be his. He leans over to kiss her...

Suddenly beautiful music is heard. Daphne opens her eyes and sees
the Glockenspiel whirring away.

Daphne: Dr. Crane, your Glockenspiel has sprung to life!
Niles: [confused, then looks up:] Oh, the clock!

He gets up and sits on the couch to admire it. In front of him,
Daphne rises to her knees to do the same.

Niles: My God, it hasn't run like this in years! Maris will be
delighted... Maris.
Daphne: You really love her, don't you?
Niles: You know, I do. Love is a funny thing, isn't it? Sometimes
it's exciting and passionate. Sometimes it's something else.
Something... comfortable and familiar. That newly-exfoliated
little face staring up at you across the breakfast table...
sharing a laugh together when you see someone wearing white
after Labor Day.
Daphne: I hope some day some man will feel that way about me.
Niles: [staring into her eyes:] Oh... Daphne, don't worry. You are
a very special person, and some day a man worthy of you will
come along... just as soon as the gods create him.
Daphne: [laughs] That's the loveliest thing anyone's ever said to me.
Thank you, Dr. Crane. You're a good friend.

Unaware that Frasier has just vaulted onto the terrace outside,
Daphne leans forward and kisses Niles on the cheek. Just as
she does, lightning flashes and thunder booms.

Frasier: STOOOOOO-OOOP! STOOOOOP!

They turn in shock to see Frasier, soaking wet, pounding on the
glass doors with both fists and screaming, looking rather like
Dustin Hoffman in "The Graduate", or with the lightning crashing
behind him, a character in an old horror film.

Niles: Frasier!

Niles opens a side door and Frasier rushes in.

Frasier: My God, have you two gone mad?! You'll regret this for the
rest of your lives!
Niles: What are you talking about?
Frasier: Well, the two of you here alone, the fire, the candlelight,
the nightie!
Daphne: [laughing:] Dr. Crane, you didn't think that Dr. Crane and I
were... [shocked:] Dr. Crane! You have some nerve to imply
that your brother would do anything so deplorable! Why,
just moments ago he made a beautiful speech about how much
he loves his wife, how he cherishes her excruciating little
face, and how they laugh at white people!

Frasier looks confused.

Daphne: [to Niles:] That didn't sound right.
Niles: Close enough.
Frasier: I'm sorry, Daphne, I didn't mean to suggest that, I didn't
try to imply that...
Daphne: Well then, exactly what was it you wanted us to stop doing?
Frasier: I... wanted you to stop standing here in silence. A night
like this calls for music! Daphne, please, some wine for
all of us. Niles, join me at the piano, please.

Daphne goes and pours some wine. Frasier grabs Niles by the arm and
pulls him down onto the piano bench with him.

Frasier: Are you sure everything's alright?
Niles: Absolutely. Frasier, my Glockenspiel is working again!

Frasier browses through his "Gray's Anatomy" for a moment, then:

Frasier: Shall we?

They begin to play.

End of Act Two (Time: 22:15)

Credits:

Niles and Frasier are playing the piano, Daphne stands behind them,
all three of them are singing. It is still raining, and Martin comes
round the corner knocking on the windows. However, their boisterous
singing drowns him out, and he is left out in the stormy weather,
pounding on the window with his cane.